Got inflammation? As an #RAWarrior, I’m no stranger to muffin-top ankles and marshmallow knees. Hey, if you’re gonna manage a chronic inflammatory form of arthritis every single day, you might as well make fun of it sometimes.
I’m all about self-care, so when #WellnessWednesday and a free massage opportunity merged, I was on it! (My annual yoga package at the local studio includes several perks, one of which is a free massage.)
Let’s Do This!
I scheduled my appointment with the amazing Erica for what turned out to be a lymphatic drainage massage. I know there are several types of massage, so I told her to do what she felt would best compliment my health issues and current physical needs.
After a chat about my autoimmune conditions we decided it was time to whisk away the stagnant lymphatic fluid in my body (of which there was plenty!) to flush out my system and get everything flowing a bit better.
Disclaimer: I was warned this type of massage can cause autoimmune conditions to flare and cause lingering pain in some areas of the body. And, yep, I flared big and bad on Friday and Saturday, just a few days after the massage. I also had pain at the base of my skull and in my hips, as expected.
So, How Did It Go?
One week later, I’m feeling much better and thought I’d share what this experience was like, from a non-masseuse, common girl perspective. Like you might expect, the massage itself felt wonderful and helped me to relax tense muscles and clear my mind for an hour. Erica used a medium pressure, which was maybe a touch too hard at times, but in a “hurts so good” kind of way. I could feel that the process was working.
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So, let’s talk about what happened after the lymphatic drainage massage. The word drainage is really the focus here. I was instructed to drink lots of water to help flush the stagnant fluid from my body and to take a lingering Epsom salt bath to pamper myself as my body worked hard to cleanse itself. You don’t have to ask me twice! I was in the salty bath later that evening enjoying my favorite frankincense and lavender essential oils and an episode of Self-Service, one of my favorite podcasts. Ahhh….
I was also instructed to move, move, move. Even slow gentle movement is better than sitting or lying down for long stretches of time when it comes to stimulating lymphatic drainage. I’ve been attending my yoga classes as usual, increasing my daily amount of walking when I feel well and taking more desk breaks to sneak in extra movement.
Then the drainage kicked in, to the tune of urinating once or twice every hour or so for oh, the next week. It’s still happening. I am peeing A LOT. I didn’t know there could be so much stagnant fluid in my body just itching to get out. I’m drinking extra fluids (water, ACV tea, smoothies) to ensure that I don’t get dehydrated.
Seeing New Things!
Yesterday in yoga class I noticed something. As my legs were hoisted above my head to stretch my hamstrings, I could see the definition of tendons around my ankles. What? In addition to ankle bones, I could see tendons, which I haven’t spotted in a long time due to chronic inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis. I’m assuming this is related to the massage, but I’m not sure.
So, will I do this type of massage again? Yes!
I was told that with my health issues it’s not a good idea to do it weekly, but rather space these sessions out to once every two to three weeks to manage my inflammation and assist with the drainage of stagnant lymphatic fluid. Plus, there’s the risk of a mind-fogging, pain-inducing RA flare, so I need to plan for some potential downtime after the massage to be an RA zombie.
Have you ever had a lymphatic drainage massage? What was your experience? I’d especially love to hear about long-term results and benefits.
Until next time,
PS: Visit me on Facebook at Cupcakes and Yoga Pants!